W.Bro Chris Jones, who is currently tackling the monumental challenge of walking around the 7500-mile coast of the United Kingdom, expecting to take around 18 months, in aid of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, finally arrived in the Province on Friday 3rd February where he was officially handed over to W.Bro Gordon Craigs, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, and W.Bro Philippe Pages, Assistant Provincial Grand Secretary, by W.Bro Clinton Leeks, of Durham Freemasons at the midway point of Tyne Tunnel.
Chris is taking on this marathon task to say a big thankyou to the MCF, which steered him through the darkest days of a mental health crisis. Chris is very open about his struggle with mental health and has suffered poor mental health for about 10 years, with the very lowest points costing days and sometimes weeks of his life contemplating suicide and an escape from the misery. Commencing in Skegness on New Years Day 2023 he hopes to raise £100,000.
By Tuesday the 7th February, he had arrived in Amble where he was met by Bro Chris Connor of the Northumberland Light Blues Club who welcomed him to the “Friendliest Port”. They enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at The Radcliffe Bar prior to a small tour of Amble and Chris then settled into his accommodation. On the evening Chris was again joined by Chris Connor and other Light Blues Club members, in addition to some Warkworth Lodge No.1879 Past Masters, and the reigning Master, prior to the Installation of his successor on the Wednesday. where they enjoyed a convivial night at the Wellwood Arms, managed by another Light Blue of Lord Warkworth Lodge rounded off when W. Bro Chris went on to win Play Your Cards Right at the quiz night.
The following evening, Chris was a guest of Lord Warkworth Lodge at their installation night where, during the Festive Board, he gave the brethren a talk on his walk and the reason why it meant so much to him to be raising money for the charity. It was warmly received and rounded off when he was presented with a cheque for £100 towards his fundraising for the MCF. The Treasurer ended the night by having the Director of Ceremonies announce he would be circulating to collect any spare change the brethren wished to donate towards Chris’s walk which raised another, very generous, £140.
Thursday 9th February saw Chris travel inland to Alnwick Masonic Hall, and to a meeting of Coquetdale Lodge No.5122 who made a very generous donation of £200.
By Monday 20th Chris backtracked down the coast to join the Brethren of Oriental Lodge, No.9371, and numerous guests celebrating the Year of the Rabbit, during their famous Chinese New Year celebrations which sees hundreds of guests from around the Province and beyond come together to witness the magnificence of the Lion Dance in their chosen restaurant where the Festive Board takes place. The meeting saw a surprise visit of the Provincial Grand Master, Ian Craigs, who made a donation, on behalf of the Province to Chris’ cause, for the magnificent sum of £2000, which was topped up by the members of Oriental Lodge by a further £100.
Tuesday 21st saw Chris head back north to visit a meeting of Glendale and Farne Lodge No.5228, our recent newly amalgamated lodge, which meets at Seahouses Masonic Hall, where he received a further generous donation from the Lodge, prior finally re-crossing the border, into Scotland to continue his epic journey around the country.
Good luck to Chris from everyone at Northumberland Freemasons and it was a pleasure to hoist you for a short while. We look forward to following your progress over the coming months.
You can follow Chris’s journey and experiences on his blog https://www.walktheedgemcf.com/
Want to help make Chris’ expedition a little easier by making a donation? Head over to bit.ly/3Cg32Jo
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